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Paving/Surfacing Equipment Operator

What They Do

Paving, Surfacing, and Tamping Equipment Operators Career Video

About This Career

Operates equipment used for applying concrete, asphalt, or other materials to road beds, parking lots, or airport runways and taxiways or for tamping gravel, dirt, or other materials. Includes concrete and asphalt paving machine operators, form tampers, tamping machine operators, and stone spreader operators.

This career is part of the Architecture and Construction cluster Construction pathway.

A person in this career:

  • Starts machine, engages clutch, and pushes and moves levers to guide machine along forms or guidelines and to control the operation of machine attachments.
  • Fills tanks, hoppers, or machines with paving materials.
  • Controls paving machines to push dump trucks and to maintain a constant flow of asphalt or other material into hoppers or screeds.
  • Observes distribution of paving material to adjust machine settings or material flow, and indicates low spots for workers to add material.
  • Coordinates truck dumping.
  • Drives machines onto truck trailers, and drives trucks to transport machines and material to and from job sites.
  • Inspects, cleans, maintains, and repairs equipment, using mechanics' hand tools, or reports malfunctions to supervisors.
  • Sets up and tears down equipment.
  • Operates machines to spread, smooth, level, or steel-reinforce stone, concrete, or asphalt on road beds.
  • Lights burners or starts heating units of machines, and regulates screed temperatures and asphalt flow rates.

Working Conditions and Physical Demands

People who do this job report that:

  • You would often handle loads up to 10 lbs., sometimes up to 20 lbs. You might do a lot of walking or standing, or you might sit but use your arms and legs to control machines, equipment or tools.
  • Work in this occupation involves bending or twisting your body more than one-third of the time
  • Work in this occupation involves use of protective items such as safety shoes, glasses, gloves, hearing protection, a hard hat, or personal flotation devices
  • Exposure to pollutants, gases, dust, fumes, odors, poor ventilation, etc.
  • Conditions are very hot (above 90 F) or very cold (under 32 F)
  • Work in this occupation involves using your hands to hold, control, and feel objects more than one-third of the time
  • Exposed to hazardous equipment such as saws, machinery, or vehicular traffic more than once a month
  • Sound and noise levels are loud and distracting
  • Work in this occupation requires being outside most of the time
  • Work in this occupation involves making repetitive motions more than one-third of the time
  • Whole body vibrations, such as when operating a jackhammer

Working in this career involves (physical activities):

  • Judging how far away an object is, or which of several objects is closer or farther away
  • Bending, stretching, twisting, or reaching
  • Seeing clearly at a distance
  • Speaking clearly enough to be able to be understood by others
  • Identifying and understanding the speech of another person
  • Lifting, pushing, pulling, or carrying objects
  • Using abdominal and lower back muscles repeatedly or over time without tiring

Work Hours and Travel

  • Regular working hours and limited travel

Specialty and Similar Careers

Careers that are more detailed or close to this career:

  • Asphalt Paver Operator
  • Asphalt Raker
  • Equipment Operator (EO)
  • Maintenance Equipment Operator (MEO)
  • Paver Operator
  • Roller Operator
  • Screed Operator
  • Loader Operator
  • Asphalt Roller Operator
  • Asphalt Paving Machine Operator


  • Email Support
  • 1-800-GO-TO-XAP (1-800-468-6927)
    From outside the U.S., please call +1 (424) 750-3900
  • North Dakota Career Resource Network
    ndcrn@nd.gov | (701) 328-9733